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Eating In, a series examining food and food culture in New Hampshire, ran May 17-21, 2010.

How Do You Like Them Apples?


All this week NHPR has been taking you to dinner.

Today, we move on to dessert… on our plate, apple pie.

The apple is one of the most common fruits.

As part of our series, “Eating In” NHPR’s Amy Quinton looks at the path an apple takes to get to your plate.

The apple has been around a long time…just think of Adam and Eve… and would we have so many adages about it?… “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…one bad apple spoils the whole bunch…an apple a day…” you get the picture.

Or maybe you don’t…picture a ripe…perfectly green Granny Smith apple. (bite)

Ah…its crunch..its tangy sweetness..it’s also a variety that’s one of the most commonly cooked.

And it’s the most popular…at least it is at the local Hannaford store...says spokesman Michael Norton.

“ Granny Smith’s are the biggest seller and annually in our 175 stores we sell five point seven million Granny Smith apples"

 Five point seven million…that’s a big slice of pie.

And where was it grown? Well that depends on what time of year it is.

Hannaford really takes pride in buying local apples…local from Maine, local from New Hampshire..depending on which particular store you’re in.

But that only takes you through one season. This week…the Granny Smith comes from a different hemisphere.

Commercial: “In the lush central valley of Chile it’s taken centuries of experience to grow fruit this good”

Yes, Chile…from an orchard in between the cities of Talca and Curico… about two and a half hours south of the country’s capital, Santiago.

“many of the farms would be less than 100 hectares, which would be about 220 acres.”

That’s Tom Tjerandsen..with the Chilean fruit Association…he even knows when the apples are picked.

“they’re picked early in the morning hours and then taken to the packing house”

They’re packed in boxes – 750-thousand boxes a year – and each box holds 25 big apples or 50 small ones. That’s between 18 and 37 million…just Granny Smiths.

“The boxes are put on pallets, the pallets on refrigerated trucks, the trucks have a dedicated highway, an eight lane highway that goes from the growing areas to the Port of Valpraiso.”

Tjerandsen says the apples stop briefly in Valpraiso for an inspection …then off they go…

“once released they’re loaded onto a refrigerated freighter and shipped to either the east coast or west coast”

From Chile, the ship travels 5796 nautical miles to dock in Portland Maine, where it’s then trucked to the Hannaford distribution center.

Sound energy intensive?…well not if you consider part of the year..Granny Smiths comes from Washington State.

Tjerandsan says that can often make a bigger carbon footprint.

"you put a truck on an interstate for 2000 plus miles you burn a lot of diesel, versus the bunker number 3 that a freighter burns bringing hundreds of truckloads at the same time into a distribution point on the East Coast"

Still, that’s a lot of fuel to get a Granny Smith in May.

How do you like them apples?

For NHPR news, I’m Amy Quinton.

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